The Satechi Thunderbolt Slim Hub doesn’t take up much room on your desk, but it packs in a trio of very high-speed USB-C/Thunderbolt ports, plus a USB-A port.
The Thunderbolt 4 accessory is good enough to earn a CES 2023 Innovation Award. I put to the test in my home office.
Satechi Thunderbolt Slim Hub review
Once you start moving big files around with Thunderbolt, you’ll have a hard time imaging how you survived slower transfer speeds.
Thunderbolt 4 and Thunderbolt 3 can move files at up to 40Gbps. That’s fast enough to transfer a 10GB file between your computers in a few seconds. And Apple has built it into every Mac for years.
The Satechi Thunderbolt Slim Hub adds three downstream ports to your Mac or iPad, ready for you to connect external SSDs or high-res monitors. And there’s a USB-A port for other accessories.
- Thunderbolt dock lives up to its “slim” name
- Blazing-fast performance
- Satechi Thunderbolt Slim Hub final thoughts
Thunderbolt dock lives up to its ‘slim’ name
Thunderbolt docks often take up quite a bit of space, but Satechi wasn’t kidding when it put “slim” in the name of this hub. It’s a mere 4.8 inches by 2.9 inches by 0.5 inches. It’s small enough that one time I lost it in all the clutter on my desk.
The design has rounded corners, and the aluminum-and-plastic exterior is the right color to match a space grey iMac, MacBook, etc.
On the front is the upstream USB-C/Thunderbolt port ready to be connected to your Mac. Next to it is a USB-A port you can plug flash drives into. That’s what I used it for, anyway.
On the back sits the trio of USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 ports. It’s also where the power supply plugs in.
Speaking of which… while the main unit of the Satechi Thunderbolt Slim Hub is small, don’t think you’re going to slip the entire device into your pocket. It’s external power supply is a hefty 6 inches by 2.1 inches by 1.3 inches.
If you want a portable Thunderbolt dock, look at the HyperDrive Thunderbolt 4 Power Hub.
It’s easy to be confused about Thunderbolt ports because they use the USB-C format. It’s a bit of an oversimplification, but you can just think of Thunderbolt as a way increase the speed of file transfers over USB-C. But it’s not something you’ll need to worry about with the Satechi Thunderbolt Slim Hub because its ports can be used with very high-speed Thunderbolt 4 accessories and slower USB-C ones.
The Thunderbolt 4 standard provides data transfer speeds at up to 40Gbps. Being able to move a 10GB file in under 5 seconds in real-world conditions is amazing.
Because the Thunderbolt Slim Hub has three downstream ports, you can connect multiple high-speed accessories to your Mac. These don’t have to be external drives. It can handle up to two 4K screens at 60Hz or one 8K screen at 30Hz depending on the capabilities of the Mac.
And the ports can be daisychained with other Thunderbolt accessories.
Don’t forget the USB-A port on the front. It’s no slouch, and was able to transfer a 10GB in under 20 seconds in my tests, as long as the external drive supports USB 3.2.
And remember that the connection with Satechi’s hub can power your MacBook at up to 60W.
Satechi Thunderbolt Slim Hub final thoughts
It’s high time for any professionals who are still holding out to upgrade to Thunderbolt. And if you have older, slower Thunderbolt devices, make the move to Thunderbolt 4. The speed increase you can expect from the Satechi Thunderbolt Slim Hub is very noticeable when working with large files.
It takes up minimal space on your desk, a nice bonus. There’s a lot more bulk under the desk, but that shouldn’t matter to most people.
The Satechi Thunderbolt Slim Hub costs $199.99. That’s a fairly typical price for Thunderbolt hubs.
Buy it from: Satechi or Amazon
The product is quite similar to the Plugable USB4-HUB3A that debuted in 2022. It’s worth a look, too. Check out my review.
Consumers that are balking at the price for either Thunderbolt accessory can stick with much more affordable USB-C versions, like the Satechi 4-Port USB-C Hub, which I also reviewed.
Satechi provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See our reviews policy, and check out other in-depth reviews of Apple-related items.